We all have a friend like this. You know the one. Ditsy, big watery eyes, forever gazing up at the sky and sighing with apparent lack of brain function. And then looking at you earnestly, telling you that in order to be happy, you have to forgive yourself.
Excuse me? And WTF?
Forgive MYSELF? Dude. You don’t know who you’re dealing with here.
I have forever banned from my inbox one such chirpy optimist who sends out delightful email missives all too frequently, each one containing nuggets like, “As we bring our fears to the Light, to Source, fear cannot be sustained and it dissolves in the intensity of Love.”
And this chirpy optimist (hey, nothing wrong with optimism — I practice it every time I exhale, trusting that I’m going to breathe in again) chirps about the beauty of forgiveness. As if this forgiveness is a magical state of enlightenment that we must all strive to attain.
Oh. That’s what you thought forgiveness was too, isn’t it? Something magical. That will solve all your problems.
Well, get over it. It’s not.
Forgiveness, simply put, is the act of releasing an energetic hold placed on another. This energetic hold arises when you look outside yourself for the source of pain or discomfort you feel inside. In other words, it starts with blame.
Oh, I forgot. You’re really good at blame.
In fact, 50% of you are really really good at blaming yourselves. For everything. And everything receives the same amount of blame. Burn the toast? “Oh, how horrible, my toastmaking skills suck, I FAIL!” Encounter a red light on the way to work? “OMG I suck at driving, I’m going to be late, I should have taken a different street, I FAIL!” You’re a brain surgeon and you lose a patient? “I SUCK! I don’t have brains in my fingers! I should have been an electrician! I FAIL!”
And while that’s entertaining — watching people self-flagellate and cry Glenn Beck-style Vicks Vaporub-enhanced crocodile tears while tearing out their hair and gouging their eyes out with a spork — it’s nowhere near as fun as what the other 50% of you do, which I call The Dance of Blame. Burn the toast? “You SUCK! Why’d you buy this toaster anyhow! What a stupid toaster! Who the fuck wants toast anyhow!” Red light on the way to work? “STUPID LIGHT! Hey! Fuckhead! Yeah, you! If you actually drove the fucking SPEED LIMIT we would not all be here waiting at this fucking LIGHT!” Failed brain surgeon? “STUPID FUCK! He just HAD to go in for fucking surgery, the asshole, and then STOP BREATHING on my table! HOW DARE HE DIE! Doesn’t deserve to live!”
And while blame can be really really entertaining (a national pastime, really), let’s not forget it’s just one piece of this forgiveness bullshit. That’s right, in order to “forgive” yourself you first have to go into Blame Mode and get all weepy and berate yourself for not taking enough Me Time.
Ew. That just feels crappy, doesn’t it?
And in order to forgive OTHERS — well, seriously, why would you want to? If you’re a blame-everyone-else kind of person, then releasing your hold on that blame isn’t going to be easy. You LIKE blaming. It’s part of the empty shell of identity you’ve crafted around yourself. Think you’ll give that up easily, just because some New Age shithead tells you that you won’t be happy until you forgive everyone on a very long list of people you’ve ever known? Hardly.
So now what?
The Bitch has the answer.
To start off, own your shit.
That’s right, own it. You’re a blamer? Do it loud and proud. But don’t take yourself too seriously, because everyone around you knows you’re full of shit. Blame yourself continually? Then go over the top with it. “OH MY GOD THE TOAST IS BURNED! MY LIFE IS OVER! KILL ME NOW!” People will also know you’re full of shit and begin to ignore you, as they should, instead of rushing to your aid. Owning your self-blame is actually more difficult than owning your blaming of others, because socially, we reward self-blamers. But get over it and just be dramatic. Enjoy it.
Next step. After you totally own your blame, ask yourself this question:
Can I, at least for right now, let go of this stupid-ass grudge I’ve been holding for the past 8 years and pretend it never happened? Just for now?
If the answer in your head comes back “Yes,” then do it. Let it go. You’re not obligating yourself to forever. It’s just for that moment.
If the answer in your head comes back “No,” ask it why the fuck not! Ask it why you’re insisting on being a total douche, and remind that fucking voice that we’re talking about just for a moment — a nanosecond — and what the fuck is so scary about that? And then challenge that fucking voice to a face fish-slapping duel if it won’t listen and fucking let go for like a SECOND.
And forget about forgiving. And get on with your life.